|"The Calling" on PBS|
Good. That's exactly why I started writing this blog. Just like those seminary students I watched tonight, I'm young and idealistic. It's my role at this time in my life to question our assumptions and be naive. I'm only 25 years old - I have the rest of my life to be cautious and bitter. At the same time - if I'm going to be bold than I have to be willing to be wrong. And I'll admit now that I was wrong about some things.
I realize that I was wrong in my focus on polity rather than culture. Both our polity and our culture stem from the strict congregationalist history that I described, but Unitarian Universalism is not suffering for too much congregational polity - Unitarian Universalism is suffering from a culture that lacks trust and faith. We are unwillingly to let our leaders lead us. We are distrustful of clergy and any form of concentrated power.
My mother would say, "right on!" but to me this is just sad. Maybe Dough Muder was right in his UUWorld article about the generational differences between my parents generation and mine - I'm looking to follow the ringing of a prophetic voice, while my parents fought for the value that no voice should ever be heard above the collective murmur of the people.
Personally, I think this has a lot to do with our relationship with God.
You know, many UUs think we are the only church that says, "whoever you are, wherever you come from and whatever journey you are are - you are welcome here." This is pure ignorance, because most liberal congregations of faith in the US (Christan and Jewish in my experience) profess this. We are ALL on journeys of faith. It's only UUs who think that being on a journey of faith means always traveling solo.
Why must all our journeys be quiet walks in the woods and solemn reposes? What fear do you have in following a leader on a faith journey that will take you possibly further than you could have traveled alone? What fear do you have in submitting to God? If we are unable to recognize a power higher than ourselves - then we may never be able to cross into a faith deeper than our own self-satisfied shallows.
Love yourself. Love your neighbor. Trust God and trust whomever you choose as your faith leader. Learn when to hold on and when to let go.
Does this mean we need stronger leaders in the UUA? Absolutely.
Is becoming a people who trusts leaders and recruiting leaders worthy of trust a chicken-and-egg problem? Yes, but we have to start somewhere:
So if you are a leader, if you are a prophetic voice or genius community organizer - lead! Organize! If you are a person of faith looking for a better life and better world - find a path, find a leader and find strength and power in discipleship.
This is all I've got right now. As always... more to come.